Government, News

Roads caucus wants contractors hired to help DOH with maintenance

KINGWOOD — The North Central Caucus on Roads is fine tuning a resolution to ask the state to allow private contractors to maintain some roads for three years.
The caucus is comprised of county commissioners and legislators from the State Division of Highways (DOH) District 4, which includes Doddridge, Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Preston and Taylor Counties. The caucus originated with Preston Commission President Craig Jennings.
All agree that District 4 has more road maintenance issues than other districts in the state, Jennings said.
At its meeting last week the caucus considered a resolution to present at the legislature in January. Jennings said at Monday’s Preston Commission meeting that the resolution  is being fine tuned.
“Basically what the resolution asks is that the state hire out what they call the Primary 1 roads — which in Preston County would be 92, 50, 26 and 7, those types of roads — and it would be a three-year maintenance contract,” Jennings said.
The idea is that contractors who get the jobs will follow state guidelines for three years on mowing, ditching and patching those roads.
“I’m hoping that the state will hop onto that,” Jennings said.
The idea is that this will free up DOH crews to get to secondary and other roads. The idea came from former District 4 Engineer Don Williams, Jennings said. It is also an idea proposed by Preston County in the meetings.
“What we’re hoping is that the state will at least try this for three years and get these roads caught up,” Jennings said. “I think they’re at the point where the state is either going to have to come up with a solution on their own or take that one.”
Monongalia and Harrison Counties requested minor changes in the resolution, Jennings said. This is the first caucus meeting Harrison County officials  attended, but Jennings said they are “on board” with the effort now.
The caucus will  meet next in January, in Mon County.
Commissioner Dave Price said state delegates from District 4 favor the idea. The caucus has been able to grab the attention of many people, Price said.
Also at the commission meeting:
County Administrator Kathy Mace said the county has spent $3,090 of a $5,000 grant and spay/neutered 22 dogs. An anonymous donation of $5,000 was given to spay and neuter cats, and about $3,600 has been spent of that on 36 cats.
Sheriff Dan  Loughrie told commissioners the odor from drains in the basement of the jail is so bad deputies aren’t using offices there. He asked if anyone ever tested to see what kind of gas is coming from the drains? The basement also leaks, he said.
Mace said it has been an ongoing issue  and will require the help of the City of Kingwood.  Jennings said the county will get cameras to go down the drains and check them out.
commissioners declared Wednesday World Polio Day at the request of the Rotary Club of Kingwood and passed a resolution in support of Keeping the Lights on After School at the request of Main Street Kingwood Director Mary Hibbs and Jennifer Sapp of After School Explorers.